“But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion (heart) from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”I John 3:17
When we were first married, we joined a small church. On the first Wednesday we visited, the pastor was not there, and the 20-30 people that were there encouraged us to come back and meet the pastor. We liked that the church was small and the people were friendly. The fill-in speaker seemed quite nervous as he played with the change in pocket, but this did not deter us from coming back and checking out the church again. We came back that next Wednesday and for the next 11 years, during which time we learned a lot and were shaped spiritually.
Although the church was quite small, it supported many other churches through worldwide missions. The walls of the auditorium held the latest newsletters from the missionaries we supported, and every year we saw more and more missionaries added until the path to the bathroom was lined with the letters as well. Missions conference was the highlight of the year, and it was our time to spoil the missionaries. Faith promise giving was talked about, explained, and practiced in that week, and the week culminated with us giving the missionaries a gift and taking them on for support. We would drain the missions’ account as we gave to the missionaries, and we, in faith, depended on God to help us keep what we committed to give.
I was always nervous that time of year as I was not sure if I would be called to the mission field or asked to drain my bank account. God always provided, and the missions’ account always had enough to support the missionaries to whom we had promised support. As the years went by, it became easier to give to missions as I saw God work in the missionaries’ lives as He worked in mine. I used to want to give the least amount possible until I saw the great and mighty things God was doing through our church in the mission field.
I remember one particular Sunday evening in which we had a visiting missionary speaker who was there to talk about his ministry. We often had missionaries drop in and it was a treat when they did. When the missionary finished, our pastor got up and told us the missionary had some immediate needs, particularly a new set of tires. He did not want to take it out of the missions’ account, and he wanted to take care of it right there and then. He said he would be willing to give to the tires, and then he just started to throw out numbers and asked the congregation to raise their hand if they could give $100, $50, $20 dollars to meet the need. He called out the numbers like a seasoned auctioneer, but it was as if my hands were glued to my pockets.
I was waiting for the figure to get down to the $5 range, but God pricked my heart and I raised my hand for a number I initially did not want to give. I was being stingy with God’s money and selfish with what He had blessed me with. Other similar scenarios played out in that church over the years, and we and other members could not wait to give to someone in need and see what God would do. We learned faith in that church, and we learned to not be selfish with God’s money but rather to be led by Him in giving it. God used that small church to give money that would rival big churches in the valley. God can do amazing things through us if we follow His lead in helping someone in need.
Where are you today friend? Are you stingy with the money God has entrusted you with? Are you a good steward of what He has given you? Do you look to get out of giving or are you quick to raise your hand and offer help when it is needed? We are to be a conduit to others of what God has given us, and we must not to turn a blind eye to the needs of others. May God help us to show His love for Him by how we meet the needs of others.